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UAE Announces New Residency and Ownership Rules

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) have announced new residency and ownership rules that could have a far-reaching effect on the real estate market.

The new rules announced by the UAE will allow residency visas of up to ten years for specialists in scientific, medical, research and technical fields, and crucially will also allow full ownership of businesses to foreign nationals.

Previously foreign nationals opening businesses in the UAE had to have a local partner owning 51 per cent of the venture, unless located in one of the free zones.

The real estate sector in the UAE is expected to be one of the main beneficiaries of the new rules, as the changes should encourage the UAE’s expatriate population to remain in the country for longer periods.

Faisal Durrani, partner and head of research at Cluttons, commented: ‘Longevity of residence for expats is going to be a game changer as the population’s historically transient nature gives way to semi-permanency.

‘The move will clearly go some way to stemming the loss of human talent from the UAE and will also contribute to more stable and sustainable demand for residential and commercial property from domestic buyers.’

Core Savills partner Edward Macura agreed that the announcement would be a boost to both supply and demand in the property sector by way of attracting and retaining long-term investors and also skills professionals.

He said: ‘Direct and indirect effects are expected to come into play, such as population stabilisation and growth, renewed confidence in the property market and an increase in expat end-user purchasers, who are likely to invest in their own homes within the UAE instead of repatriation to their home markets.’

Overseas property investors looking to set up business in the UAE will now find it far easier, and also be able to benefit from longer residency and ownership that the new rules allow, as well as the low tax environment in the Emirates.

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